90,000 Parents Fined For Taking Children On Term-Time Holidays
Reports issues today show that as many as 90,000 parents were fined a total of £5.6m in the last school year year for taking their children on holiday during term-time. That's a massive 267% increase on the figures for the previous year.
The bank Santander conducted the research for the 2014-15 school year under a freedom of information request and gathered responses from 129 local authorities in England and Wales.
In 2013 the government tightened up the rules in England, saying that headteachers could authorise absences during term-time only in "exceptional circumstances" such as funerals. Previously, head teachers had discretion to grant up to two weeks of absence for pupils with good attendance records.
Santander said its findings suggested parents were becoming more willing to risk a fine and take their children out of school "to avoid the school holiday price hikes".
At the moment local councils in England can issue a find of £60 per child for each unauthorised absence, and that rises to £120 if the parent does not pay within 21 days. If the increased fine isn't paid within 28 days parents can be prosecuted. If prosecuted, parents could be fined up to £2,500, receive a community order or be jailed for up to three months.
Although that is the current situation in England there was a high court ruling earlier this year in favour of a parent who refused to pay the fine imposed by the local authority after a term time holiday. However the council in question is expected to take the case to the supreme court, and the Department of Education responded at the time saying that the law would not change.
To further confuse things the situation in Scotland and Wales is different to that in England, and each local authority is in charge of applying it's own fines as it sees fit, so there seems a wide disparity between different regions.
What do you make of this huge increase in parents being fined for taking their children on term-time holidays? Does it simply reflect the change in the government's policy? Or does it show that more cash-strapped parents are willing to pay the fine rather than the hugely increased holiday prices in school holidays? Let us know in the comments or over on our Facebook page.
TOPICS: News and Recalls